Compared to last season, there are hardly any venues in my local town of South Shields where live football can be watched on T.V.
I used always to go to a bar known locally as The Zoo, because of the rather exotic characters who frequented the place, but they don't show live sport there anymore. I'm told that it is because Sky T.V have astronomically raised their charges to levels way beyond the possible profit potential of small bars. It's a pity, because there was a great atmosphere at The Zoo, packed as it was with a standing-room-only crowd on match days. It was almost like standing on the terraces in the old days before seating was imposed on football grounds.
Still, at least The Zoo are honest and have removed all the posters which used to plaster the windows, advertising forthcoming games, unlike some other bars. I went into the bar pictured here, attracted by the huge banner displayed outside, and had already ordered my pint before I was told:
"No, we don't show the matches here anymore".
It was bloody annoying, as, no real ale being available, I was stuck with a pint of John Smiths.